Treating Scars: Which Remedies Work Best? (As Featured in Wall Street Journal)
A multitude of options exist for treating scars, from at-home treatments to invasive surgeries. According to Whitney Bowe, M.D., F.A.A.D., medical director for cosmetic and laser services at Advanced Dermatology, P.C., in New York and Ossining, patients are often confused when it comes to skin injures. As Dr. Bowe also teaches at SUNY Downstate Medical Center and Mount Sinai School of Medicine, she educated us on the cause of scarring and proper treatment and prevention methods.
Skin scars as a result of improper collagen formation within the skin following injury. Contrary to common belief, drying out wounds will not prevent the occurrence of scarring. Instead, Dr. Bowe recommends simple preventative measures already found in most medicine cabinets: Vaseline and a Band-Aid. If patients prefer, they may use Aquaphor, an ointment, but Dr. Bowe warns that moisturizers with multiple ingredients are more likely to trigger allergic reactions. To prevent discoloration, healing wounds must be shielded from the sun.
Aside from Vaseline, Dr. Bowe does not recommend other drugstore products to alleviate scarring, as they may cause allergic reactions, be expensive or not provide significant results. Depending on the extent of their scarring, patients may benefit from laser treatments or cortisone injections. Laser treatments, however, require multiple treatments and may be expensive.